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Sheikh Jarrah

Readers, After leaving Huwwara MPT was involved in a number of activities and did not have access to a computer or the internet. Although our time as a team has ended and we are separated by many miles, we have decided to continue to blog about our final days and experience together. Peer editing is taking place via email. Thank you for your patience.

Blog readers might wish to review the history of this situation by going to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheikh_Jarrah Or http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ir-amim/why-are-israelis-demonstr_b_445968.html

In brief, Palestinian refugees moved to this area when it was under Jordanian rule. The UN got involved and houses were built for the families. The area has been contested for years. Settlers have gained access to some houses even though complaints have been filed including one from the United States government. The above links will give the reader many more details. MPT has a history of involvement with this troubling situation.

MPT वास there in October of 2008 to provide protective accompaniment. The details can be read at http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2008/10/mpt-presence-at-al-kurds-in-east.html

MPT returned in April of 2009 after the family had been evicted. Read that report at http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2009/04/return-visit-to-sheikh-jarrah.html

MPT returned again in November of 2009 to stand watch for two nights. This team (which included one member of the current team) witnessed a police demolition of the tent site. Details can be read at http://mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2009/11/e-jerusalem-incomplete.html
The tent that was removed by the police in 2009 was located right outside the home that is now the center of controversy. A Palestinian family built an addition without the proper permission. The end result is that Israeli settlers now “live” in the addition while the family remains in the original house. Internationals activists try to have at least two people at the site for each night. This presence created a barrier between the settlers and the Palestinians giving the latter a bit of peace of mind and a chance for decent rest each night.

This is the view from the street. The block addition on the left is the section taken over by the settlers. The small tent is shelter for the activists staying overnight and provides a "gate" and visual privacy for the Palestinians who live in the rear of this compound.

The MPT fall team took a turn on the evening of Tuesday, Nov. 15. The task was to stay in the tent guarding the entrance to the Palestinian section of the compound and keep an eye on activities in the Settler section. Settlers have reportedly made much noise (loud music and such), yelled profanities, and thrown numerous things at the activists including water, bleach, vomit, urine, and feces. On this night the only incidents were a few visits to the tent by the settlers. They would stop by and make strange comments and leave. The settlers all seem to be young males who come by each night and party or use the computer. It is not clear if they really live in the addition or just occupy it often.

This is the view from the back side of the tent. There is a small court yard and access to the living areas.

It was a long cold night. We were reminded of a comment made by a young Palestinian in 2009 around a campfire just outside the door of this compound. He said “There are two things I really admire about the Jews. They are very smart and they are very patient.” He continued to say that they will work as slowly as necessary to gradually take over the entire neighborhood. So far local protests and international reactions have not stopped the eviction of Palestinians and the cancerous spread of settlements and settlers.

Readers who are really interested in this situation would do well to watch the videos in the following link. The son of the Palestinian family talks about his life. Israelis (including a middle aged army veteran) talk about their decisions to stand in support of the Palestinians.

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